A.P. High Court adjourns ‘three capitals’ cases to November 15

Advocates cite COVID third wave threat and seek postponement of hearing

The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Monday adjourned hearing on a host of petitions challenging the A.P. Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions and CRDA Repeal Acts, 2020 to November 15, due to the threat of a third wave of COVID upon requests for postponement made by some senior advocates through letters to Chief Justice Arup Kumar Goswami on August 21.

Thousands of farmers in the existing capital region of Amaravati, who are aggrieved by the government’s proposal to shift the capital to Visakhapatnam in the name of ‘Executive capital’, and others who called the ‘three capitals’ as a retrograde measure, have to now wait another 83 days for the High Court to possibly conduct a physical hearing of the cases in view of their urgency.

The YSR Congress Party government had passed the above enabling legislations for developing Amaravati, Visakhapatnam and Kurnool as the Legislative, Executive and Judicial capitals, in the Assembly last year, but they hit a stumbling block in the Legislative Council as its Chairman Md. Ahmed Shariff referred them to a select committee.

Eventually, the Assembly adopted a resolution for the abolition of the TDP-dominated Council and sent a recommendation to that effect to the Union government, with which the matter is still pending.

Travel restrictions

Soon after the Chief Justice and Justices Joymalya Bagchi and N. Jayasurya commenced hearing on Monday, the requests for adjournment necessitated by the likely resurgence of COVID and the travel restrictions were taken to their notice and the Judges conceded the pleas to put off the cases to November.

While expressing his readiness for the hearing, Advocate-General S. Sriram said the advocates who could not travel to Amaravati, should have made alternative arrangements in view of the importance of the cases being dealt with by the High Court.

Nevertheless, due to the insistence that the cases should be posted to a later date in order to be cautious about COVID, particularly looking at the manner in which it is hitting the U.S. again and the threat looming in India, the court may agree for the postponement, the Advocate-General told the court, which made clear that it would not accommodate requests for adjournment on account of counsel inconvenience after November 15.

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